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Stuart Reid Confessions of an Olympo-scepticNOTEBOOK,PAGE12No.6568

Tim Stanley Why religious parents terrify the nanny state CHARTERHOUSE, PAGE 20

Gino Bartali The saintly Tour de France champ FEATURE, PAGE 8

July 27 2012 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)

Gove: I won’t relax rules on Catholic free schools


THE EDUCATION SECRETARY Michael Gove has said he has no plans to relax the rule which means that no more than half of places in free schools may be reserved for Catholics.

In an exclusive interview with The Catholic Herald Mr Gove said that he was not prepared to lift the cap, regardless of demands from Catholic parents hoping to take advantage of the new scheme.

He said: “Remember, there’s no reason why a new school with only 50 per cent Catholic students shouldn’t have a wholly Catholic ethos. Of course, by definition, free schools are free to choose their own curriculum.

“Traditionally, Catholic schools have been concentrated in certain parts of the country. But Catholic parents who want a Catholic education for their children now have a way of providing it. Free schools are a way of increasing capacity, not limiting it.”

The Catholic Education Service for England and Wales (CES) said that retaining a maximum quota on Catholic intake undermined parental choice.

Responding to Mr Gove’s comments a spokeswoman for the CES said: “Our chairman, Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP, said before the 2010 General Election that he was interested in the idea of free schools established by local communities but after the election the Coalition Agreement introduced the

A new school with only 50

per cent Catholic students can have a wholly



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50 per cent quota on places for Catholic pupils and this has proved problematic for our sector.

“The 50 per cent quota policy undermines the Government’s own aim of increasing parental choice, since, in the case of an oversubscribed Catholic free school, Catholic pupils whose parents wanted to send them to a Catholic school would have to be turned away because they were Catholic.”

Dennis Sewell, a lay Catholic who is in the early stages of establishing a Catholic free school in Clapham, south London said: “I think Michael Gove is right. If governors and school leaders face up to the challenge, they can ensure that the inclusion of non-Catholic pupils does not dilute the Catholic character of a school.

“What really matters is that the Catholic faith is a reality at the heart of the school, permeating the curriculum, teaching and learning, the behaviour code and all the various social interactions of school life.”

Some Catholic parents who were hoping to take advantage of the free school scheme were put off by the quota rule. Opus Dei is sponsoring two new Catholic schools in London but is not using the free schools initiative.

In the interview, Mr Gove also praised Pope Benedict, calling him “a wholly authentic figure”. He also described the Catholic Church’s role in education as “global and enduring”. Interview: Page 7 Editorial Comment: Page 13

Benedict XVI prays that Olympics spread peace

POPE BENEDICT XVI has said he is praying that the London Olympics promote world peace and friendship.

During the Angelus in Rome last Sunday, he said:

“Let us pray that, according to God’s will, the London Games are a true experience of fraternity among the people of the earth.

“I pray that, in the spirit of the Olympic Truce, the goodwill generated by this international sporting event may bear fruit, promoting peace and reconciliation throughout the world.”

Pope names the next Archbishop of Glasgow


BISHOP PHILIP TARTAGLIA of Paisley was named the new Archbishop of Glasgow this week, succeeding Archbishop Mario Conti, who has been archbishop since 2002.

After the announcement was made by the Church in Scotland Archbishop-elect Tartaglia, 61, said: “I am conscious of the historic place of the Archdiocese of Glasgow in the history of Christianity in Scotland and of its importance for the Catholic community in particular.

“It is a great honour for me to be appointed archbishop of my native city and diocese.”

Bishop Tartaglia was born in Glasgow in 1951, one of nine children, and was ordained priest in 1975.

He said he had been “very happy and fulfilled” as Bishop of Paisley where he has served since late 2005. “I have loved my diocese. The priests and people of the Diocese of Paisley will always be in my heart,” he said. “And I would want to serve the Archdiocese of Glasgow with the same affection and devotion.”

He continued: “I know I can only be a good bishop with help from above, so I ask everyone to pray for me.” With 95 parishes, 203 priests and an estimated Catholic population of 200,000 the Archdiocese of Glasgow is the largest of Scotland’s eight dioceses.

Archbishop-elect Tartaglia will be the eighth man to hold the office of archbishop since the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy in 1878.

His predecessor, Archbishop Conti, who Pope Benedict asked to stay on for three years past his 75th birthday, said: “I am delighted that the Holy Father has appointed Bishop Philip as my successor. I have known him for more than 30 years and I have the greatest admiration for his gifts of leadership, intelligence, pastoral sensit ivity and holiness. The archdiocese will be in very good hands.”

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Blair: I accept Church teaching but I’m not a doctrinal ideologue BY MADELEINE TEAHAN

FORMER PRIME MINISTER Tony Blair has said that he accepts the teaching of the Catholic Church but is not a “doctrinal ideologue”.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, published on the same day that he took part in a debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Catholic convert spoke candidly about his faith.

Speaking about why he chose to convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism, Mr Blair said: “I didn’t really analyse a great deal. I just felt more at home”

During his time in office, Tony Blair ’s Government introduced controversial legislation permitting experimentation on human embryos and regulations on sexual orientation which led to the closure of Catholic adoption agencies.

During the interview with the Catholic convert and former Telegraph editor

Charles Moore, Mr Blair repeated his support for the legalisation of gay marriage but said: “I understand why people take a different view.”

Mr Blair also praised the Koran and said that its teachings had been skewed and misapplied. He said: “I see the Koran very much as an outsider. It stands in the great prophetic tradition of trying to return people to the basic principles of spirituality. Taken for its time, it was an extraordinarily progressive declaration of principle. It is also extraordinary for a Christian to read for example, there are more references to Mary than in the Gospels. The tragedy is that it has been so warped and misapplied.’’

Since converting in 2007, Tony Blair has said that the Catholic Church’s teachings needed to evolve. In a 2007 interview with the magazine Attitude, Mr Blair said: “My view is that rethinking is good, so let’s carry on rethinking.”

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Vatican aims for gold on the silver screen BY ED WEST

A NEW FILM about a fictitious Vatican team at the London Games has been praised by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

thinking religious decides the Church must start up a Vatican Olympic team to take part in the London Games, and Mario travels the world looking for sporty churchmen.

Raffaele Verzillo’s film, 100 Metres From Paradise, tells the story of Mario, who regrets never having won an Olympic medal and whose hopes for his son fade when he becomes a monk. That is, until a forward

L’Osservatore Romano said: “If to succeed one needs to criticise the Vatican, to speak about obscure mysteries, surreptitious plotting or unspeakable secrets, this film instead shows the opposite: that it is possible to speak about a subject... free from preconceptions and instrumental stereotypes. This can be done and it is possible to attract the viewer’s attention and amuse him making witty jokes bordering on the profane, but always with respect.”

Olympian prays Hail Mary before she races BY STAFF REPORTER

AMERICAN SWIMMER Katie Ledecky, who is competing in the 800m freestyle event at the 2012 Olympics in London, has spoken about her strong Catholic faith ahead of the Games.

Miss Ledecky, 15, from Maryland, the youngest athlete on the 530-member American Olympic team, said: “I always pray right before a race. The prayer I say is the Hail Mary.”

A parishioner of the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda, she said: “I also love going to Mass every week. It’s a great chance to reflect and connect with God.

Katie Ledecky

[My faith] has been a big part of my life since I was born,”

She credited the example of men and women religious she has known for inspiration, calling them “great role models”.

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